GAINS • Graduation and Academic Improvement for Native Students National Forum on At-Risk Youth Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
GAINS • Presentation Team: • Kelly Tonsmeire, Director • Alaska Staff Development Network • Carl White, Assistant to the Superintendent • Bering Strait School District
Mission of the Bering Strait School District: The Bering Strait School District will educate our children to become self-sufficient and contributing citizens through quality programs that reflect our children’s heritage.
The Bering Strait School District, in northwest Alaska, serves fifteen isolated villages on the Seward Peninsula, on the eastern end of Norton Sound and on two islands in the Bering Sea. Current enrollment is approximately 1800 students and is almost 100% Alaskan Native Inupiat, Yu'pik or Siberian Yu'pik Eskimo.
Although the number of students served is relatively small, the area served covers approximately 80,000 square miles. Most of the schools are accessible only by small bush aircraft.
BSSD School Board Goals • Increase Parent Involvement • Increase Graduation Rate • Decrease Dropout Rate • Emphasize Health and Wellness Removed inaccurate image. Open for new image!
Alaska Basics - The Great Land • Alaska’s size is misleading • Most areas are roadless • Only “highway” is two lane blacktop road • 656,424 square miles
School Districts the Size of States • Bering Strait School District • Roughly the size of Great Britain
Definitions of Isolated Frontier Area • Most use “6 persons per square mile” • ISER Report: Alaska under 1 per square mile • Census Bureau: 1.1 person per square mile
You CAN See Russia - Click for Panorama! http://go.bssd.org/russia
GAINS - Dropout Prevention Strategies The Problem: • Students don’t feel enthusiastic about school • Students are bored at school • Our Alaska Native Students are disengaged
GAINS - Dropout Prevention Strategies Why are students disengaged? • Learning lacks meaning and purpose • Students don’t see the value in school learning • The belief that school is not providing them with skills for adult life • A school climate that is not inviting We need to start having a dialog about: What defines success in our villages?
Bering Strait School District High School Graduation Paths 10 + 2 The vision of John Apangalook School is to create successful life-long learners who contribute to their community and culture. Gambell
Disconnect 10% - 15% of BSSD graduates go to college Less than 5% of the UA system graduates are Alaska Native 70% students say they are going to college after graduating
BSSD High School Diploma Pathways Community Leadership & Participation Career/Technical College Relevance Rigor Choices
+ Qualifying Event
2 10 Community Leadership & Participation Electives First Aid Cultural Classes Art/Business NACTEC Sessions Advanced Excel Advanced Microsoft Hospitality Industry Arctic Survival Local Energy Water Treatment Community Leadership Classified Education Aide Building Maintenance School Employee Personal Finance Housing Maintenance Hunter Safety Aviation ground school Fisheries; USCG six-pack license Food Handler HELP Test (School Parapros) Small Engine Grant Writers Head Start Fisheries Boiler Repair + Community Leadership & Participation
Dropout Early Warning Intervention System:dewis Research says that the students have a higher chance of dropping out of school if they meet two of the following criteria... The student is behind in READING The student is behind in MATH The student has poorATTENDANCE The student has been SUSPENDED
SO... the question is: If we know this information, why don’t we identify these students early and then formulate a plan of support for these students?
The Keys are: • Early Identification • Assessing where the student is academically and behaviorally • Coming up with a plan that addresses the deficit • Monitoring the plan • Redefining the plan
GAINS Cultural Competency Plan The Problem: The lack of teaching experience combined with the unfamiliarity of our Alaska Native cultures is adversely impacting student learning.
The Facts: • Our teacher turnover rate is around 35% every year • Most schools have new teachers, but the same high need students remain • New teachers have limited experience and knowledge of the local Alaska Native Cultures • New teachers to Alaska are unaware of the Alaska Native learning styles and the cultural dynamics of teaching in our small villages • Students are unable to establish lasting relationships with teachers, who could become mentors and role models • 48% of our teachers have less than 2 years of teaching experience • 15% of our teachers have 3-5 years experience • 63% of our teachers have less than 5 years of teaching experience • Most teachers come from outside Alaska
Building Instructional Capacity through professional learning In Progress
GAINS • U.S. Department of Education Alaska Native Education Grant • 3-Year Project • 15 Small, Remote, Rural Schools in the Bering Strait School District (BSSD) Carl - Logos?
Individualized Dropout Intervention Strategies • Dropout Early Warning Intervention System (DEWIS) • Enhancing Cultural Competency • Building Instructional Capacity: • Response to Intervention • Positive Behavior Management • Explicit Instruction • Assessment GAINS
building District office capacity • Instructional Leadership • Implementing a Comprehensive Assessment System • Understanding how to use data to make instructional decisions • Coordination between district initiatives for coherence
building District office capacity • District Office trainings • - On-site (4 days) • Co-training with District Office staff • - On-site, regional building trainings (four, two-day sessions per region) • Supported the development of an RTI Manual, Problem Solving Model and AIMSweb Resource Guide • Resource
building staff instructional capacity • Delivering explicit, systematic instruction • Implementing a Comprehensive Assessment System • Understanding how to use data to make instructional decisions • Delivering rigorous reading instruction that encompasses all 5 essential components of reading